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Despite my early hang-ups with chapter two, I am now only one page behind in my daily schedule. The words have been flowing, and I have decided to ignore any imperfections until the next go around. That’s a piece of advice I wish had been drilled into me from an early age: writing is writing, and editing is editing. When writing, remember that there will always be another draft. All you’re doing now is laying down the raw material for later. Without that material, you’ll have nothing to edit.

For the fun of it, let me introduce you to some of the key characters. The first few pages introduce more names than the first episode of The Wire, and the story takes a while to clarify them all. Here, then, is some of the core cast.

  • The central, or most featured, character is a mechanic named Bill. He has only lived in the area for a few years. Before then he worked in Oakland. Between the two car cultures, Bill feels a bit more useful in Brooklyn. Bill is a quiet, practical man. He has his principles, and will stand up for people where he can. Otherwise he minds his business, keeps his head down, and loses himself in his work.
  • Colin Drumlin works alongside Bill. At night he chases a futile music career, and he usually feels it in the morning. He also feels it in his stomach. Colin tends to cocoon his insecurity in a warm blanket of irony, that helps him to fit in with the Bushwick crowd.
  • Gary is the absentee owner of Gary’s Auto, employer to Bill and Colin. When the shop’s manager checks out unannounced, Gary is forced to take over day-to-day operations. He’s drowning, and he has no one to blame. For now Bill’s mission is to avoid becoming that target, and maybe to deflect Gary from the lower-hanging fruit.
  • The lowest at the moment may be the manager’s younger brother, Omar. He’s green, and he makes Bill seem like a chatterbox. Though he may have no defense against Gary, Omar sees everything and remembers most of it. In his own time and his own way, he will always find a creative way to respond.

Mind you, everything I say here is provisional. The first two chapters introduce at least another four or five characters, any of whom may grow or diminish in value. For now, though, this should give you something to gnaw over.